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What are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

View profile for Kevin Glass
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Overview

In essence Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an attempt by Google, Twitter and a few others to encourage large news publishers to provide a faster experience for their pages on mobile devices. For background reading please see https://www.ampproject.org/

AMP is not the only attempt to force publishers to make their sites faster, Facebook has “Instant Articles” and Apple has “Apple News”.

AMP is not a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

What is AMP?

AMP is a highly restricted set of HTML, JS and CSS - here's a summary of the most significant technical consequences:

  • You cannot use any third-party Javascript libraries like jQuery, you have to use the Google AMP JS library which much more restricted.
  • You cannot use external CSS files, all CSS must be inlined within the HEAD tag and less than 50Kb.
  • You have to use a very restricted set of CSS - not all CSS features are supported.
  • There is no support for forms (so AMP pages can not have forms on them).
  • Multimedia must be handled in a special way – this includes images and video – even if hosted externally.
  • Tag Manager is not supported so you have to cater for tracking analytics differently.
  • Its unclear if Google is adding support for its own API's such as Google Maps – but at present the assumption is that these do not work.

Conclusion

We have no immediate plan to add support for AMP – it is generally intended for a small number of very large sites which publish lots of news articles. There is no search ranking factor in Google at present so there is no imperative from that perspective.

If at some stage in the future Google decide to make AMP a ranking factor we will need to review things again but I personally think this unlikely - they are far more likely to simply strengthen the existing signal of page speed rather than insist on AMP. But if AMP does become a significant issue for "ordinary" websites then we would also have to consider 'alternative' content delivery approaches such as Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.

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